If a poor man offers you
the finest diamond
do you take it, and what
of the gift of a crust of bread
from the wealthy man.
Each gift, in its way,
is worthy of rejection.
Once I grasped at great thoughts –
now I can forget my own name
and wonder whose face it is
that I see in the mirror.
A reflection on Case 70 of The Iron Flute (Tetteki tōsui).
You offer to me
that which I cannot take,
I refuse to give you
the one thing you can accept.
We each have nothing
and give nothing,
and are happy
for the perfect gift.
A musing on Case 90 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
It is a burden he does
not want to bear any longer,
one he would shed in a moment,
but there is no place to put it
and you cannot just leave it anywhere.
And so he continues to bear it
dragging it here, carrying it there,
always attached to it, and it to him.
He knows there are others
who bear far heavier burdens,
some with a smile, others begrudgingly.
He would gladly take up
their burdens, if he could only
be relieved of his, but he
cannot find anyone to take his,
and so he smiles and goes on,
for everyone wants something
and he has only nothing to offer
although that is the greatest gift,
for it is the gift of Buddha.
A reflection on Shūmon kattōshū Case 6 – Zhaozhou’s “Drop It”